We’re supposed to be all aflutter about the launch of the Apple Watch this week. But some of the most exciting technological advances can happen when you least expect them. After a 9-hour operation, a team of South African surgeons has performed the world’s first successful penis transplant. Suck it, Apple.
Reuters reports that the surgery occurred at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa at the Universite of Stellensbosch. The transplant itself occurred in December 2014. Now, the patient (whose identity will remain anonymous) has recovered full use of his penis, including all urinary and reproductive functions.
The patient is part of a study in which nine other men will receive penis transplants. The university utilized microscopic surgery techniques similar to those developed for the first facial transplant. They also conducted psychological evaluations on all patients.
“For a young man of 18 or 19 years the loss of his penis can be deeply traumatic,” said Andre van Merwe, head of the university’s urology unit and lead surgeon on the operation.
Van der Merwe elaborated: “There is a greater need in South Africa for this type of procedure than elsewhere in the world, as many young men lose their penises every year due to complications from traditional circumcision.” Reuters reports that around 250 South African men lose their penises each year due to medical complications from circumsion.
Van der Merwe’s assistant Prof Frank Graewe is equally excited in the university’s report. “It was a privilege to be a part of this first successful penis transplant in the world.”